Job hunting for over a year with portfolio and resume, where am I going wrong?

Job hunting for over a year with portfolio and resume, where am I going wrong?
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Hello everyone! FCC got me started in my web development journey and I am SO grateful. I’ve hit a huge roadblock though, and I would really value your advice.

I’ve been applying to front-end jobs for over a year. I’ve been trying to do the things everybody says to do; i.e. apply even if you don’t completely match the criteria, ignore the posted degree requirements, etc. I completed an internship (and got glowing recommendations) to get job experience and I started a second internship after that. I keep learning and studying every day, I build projects and practice my skills, and I (semi) regularly push to GitHub. I made a portfolio site and tried to highlight my best and most technically varied projects.

It’s been a year of job hunting and I haven’t even gotten a single interview. I’ve gotten a couple of calls from recruiters that ultimately go nowhere. I’ve applied to over 130 jobs so far. (I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but there aren’t jobs in my area, and regardless, due to personal circumstance I can only apply to remote positions. I have over 7 years experience working remotely (not coding), so I wouldn’t think that’s the issue?) What am I doing wrong?

I even had a professional graciously offer to review my resume but her suggestions weren’t major changes and she had a lot of praise. I know my portfolio could probably use another overhaul but honestly at this point I don’t know if that’s the best use of my time.

Here is my portfolio site: https://selenahunter.github.io/
My projects: https://selenahunter.github.io/projects.html
And a direct link to my resume: https://selenahunter.github.io/resources/Selena_Hunter_resume_noinf.pdf (My actual resume I send to jobs has my email and phone number in that blank space below my name)

I would be very, very grateful for anyone’s input. :pray:t2: A year is a very, very long time to be job hunting, and honestly it’s been a big blow to my confidence.

3 Likes

hey @Glitterbug,

I would suggest doing more projects with react or another framework, most employers will be looking for people who are familiar with frameworks.

I see you’ve already made a project with react but looking at your code i can see that you’ve not had much experience with it, and an employer would notice this too, stuff like writing out each <option> 50 times manually and not with a loop would be a huge red flag and would tell the employer that you dont understand much of how react works, so i would definitely get more firmilar with react and build some more projects with it for your portfolio, there are plenty of video courses out there that will help you learn the basics and benefits of react, youtube has tons of them.

You say you only work remote? maybe you could apply for volunteer remote web dev jobs too charities and places like that usually need volunteers to help with there websites, they might be easier to get into as its your first job, at least this way you will get some real experience and can put on your resume that you’ve worked as remote web dev and worked as part of a dev team and all that, just an idea tho as im front the uk, so might work different over in the states.

1 Like

Hi @Glitterbug

Here’s my two cents.

Why don’t you expand your projects with more frameworks… Create two or three projects with Vue, and one big project with react.

A big projects with more interaction and of something hasn’t been done before.

Also, why don’t you buy your own domain name? And that domain will be forever yours. Hosting on firebase is fairly simple.

Why Vue? The new kid in the block. You can create one in svelte, as well. It’s awesome to code in.

Why react? That’s what’s in demand. I haven’t created my super mega project in react because I’m still creating miniprojects in vanilla.

But once I feel comfortable, my main project will be in react with redux and hooks, and about something that could be everlasting. Something I care about.

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Hi Selena,

For personal project advice:
I agree with @germanbobadilla
Browsing through your github, you probably need a meatier React/Vue/Angular project. Everyone has a react todo app, everyone can follow a youtube tutorial.

Try contributing to open source projects to gain some notoriety.

I think you should have something you can brag about, write a technical blog or demo via youtube on it. Be able to defend your technological decisions example: why you chose react, why you used hooks, which state management you used, why you used relational vs. non-relational dbs.

If you get stuck in “tutorial hell” your personal projects will reflect it.

For Job Search advice:
You will have a hard time as a junior developer finding remote work. I suggest being open to being on-site as a junior for 2-3 years so you can be mentored by someone senior.

IMO, its hard enough to learn/teach javascript and good programming habits one-on-one in person, being remote adds another layer of complexity.

Be open to relocating and being on-site. This is a very interesting time to apply for developer roles since chances are you’ll be working remote temporarily until this covid stuff gets ironed out. The benefit is you can apply to anywhere in the US and say you’re planning to relocate there after the covid stuff. So that buys you time to work with their codebase and see if you’re a good fit :slightly_smiling_face:

Your resume shows a lot of breadth (familiar with inVision/iOS/python/react), your code does not show depth in those skills. Try to match your tech stack with their tech stack. Are the companies you apply for asking junior devs to be iOS/python/react devs?? Usually when you start out you’ll be on one part of the stack until you prove your abilities then you’ll get put on to the other parts of the stack.

For interview advice:
How are you on your interviews? Are you ok with algorithms/data structures? Are you ok explaining javascript/webdev concepts? Are you failing phone interviews or on-site interviews?

If you’re not getting any interviews, I’m guessing its because your resume isn’t getting past through the system. Possibly due to covid or the fact that you’re not open to relocate/work on site or your resume isnt matching with the job description algorithm. Try looking for referrals/advice from other people who work where you want to work.

All of the above is just my opinion, so take it with a grain of salt.

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Hi!

I took an overview on your work and it seems awsome.
Your case is very interesting to me, because i’m starting my FCC path and its good to understand the difficulties I may find.
Obviously i cant give you any advise, but i cant tell you that i really appreciate your efforts and your achievements.
Have you tried to freelance?

Hello, everyone!

Thank you so so much for all your advice! I think this will be very helpful going forward. @biscuitmanz I will definitely need to build more React projects, you’re right, thank you very much for your honest critique. :slight_smile: As far as taking a volunteering position, that’s what I was hoping to achieve with my internship (which actually was at a charity, lol! :slight_smile:) , and while I got a lot of experience it doesn’t seem to be making a difference for getting my resume through, sadly. Thank you for the suggestion though!

@germanbobadilla Thank you very much for your suggestions! I’ve been hesitant to expand into other frameworks because I thought it might be best to focus on just one for the time being but perhaps I’ll need to give that another thought. :thinking:

@wordisbarn Those are some very good ideas, thank you! I will definitely work on making something meatier, and I really appreciated your suggestion on doing something I’m able to brag about (and defend). :slight_smile: And I know I need to practice my algorithms and structures; I’m making it a point to spend regular time practicing now, so hopefully I’ll get more confident there! I’ve only had one “interview” (it was a “we’ll test you now so you can be on the top of our resume pile when we’re hiring later” kind of thing), and I did okay, I guess – I made it through all but 1 algorithm challenge, but the stress made me have way too much self-doubt, so I definitely need to practice interviewing skills. Thanks for the ideas! I’m completely unable to work on-site anywhere though, otherwise I would definitely try to make it an option. I understand it’s very hard for juniors, but if I could change my circumstances, I would. :frowning: I’ve been trying to focus on just one small stack (hence no Python projects, for instance) but employers always list like 50 things they want their employee to know (:exploding_head:) , so I figured I should include everything on my resume. Do you think I should narrow down my resume more?

@FredVal aww, thank you so much!! :smile: I haven’t done any coding freelancing yet though I’ve been strongly considering it, maybe I should give that a shot as well to get more experience!

I made some notes on all your very helpful suggestions, and I think my biggest takeaway from all this is that I should definitely, at minimum, work on a beefier React project and level up my skills there, so that will be my next step. :slight_smile: Then after that perhaps build things in some other frameworks or try to take on some more volunteer or freelance projects, and definitely keep leveling up my algorithms and vanilla JS. I hope to be able to come back really soon with a good update. :smile:

2 Likes

Not sure where or what jobs you’re applying to. Junior-Mid Developer roles typically have the developer working on only one part of the stack. I imagine these job descriptions asking you to be versed in javascript and a backend language (Node/Python/Java/C#). Very rarely do you see a job description asking a junior dev to be front-end / back-end / mobile. That job smells like they don’t know what they want and they’re trying to just collect resumes and build a pipeline.

My advice is to find the common languages from the jobs in your desired location. Learn that. I wouldn’t spread too far out but rather be proficient at just one (javascript) and familiar in another. Remember, your resume gets you the interview but its your skill that will get you the job. Knowing 5 languages at the surface level probably won’t get you through the interview.

I would tailor the resume to the specific job/jobs that you’re applying to. Example, if its a JS/Python shop then your resume should reflect projects in those and list your impact in those roles.

can i host my website on firebase for free?

1 Like

Of course,
I have my first project —a work in progress— hosted there and I’m paying 0.
mootify.org
All I paid was 4 dollars for the domain at godaddy and passed it on to Firebase.

hey Selena,

i visited ur links. what i see is cool looking stuff. thats not the problem. but i see no algo’s. maybe they are there, but i didnt see’em in a glance.

HR people need to see stuff in a glance, not go search for it.
i see you did some python stuff, also fcc-js algo’'s. thats cool, but i dont see it. i dont see ur algo’s in ur projects.

it doesnt matter if you use some fancy new front-end framework (which is adviced above) or use some vanilla, python or any other language, but you do need to show you can do / use normal algo’s. So…build a project that uses ur own or an external api and make sure to use algo’s somewhere. methods like: .find, .map, .forEach, .reduce, .regex, .slice, splice, etc etc etc,

its cool you finished fcc algo’s, but thats sandbox programming. its not stupid, or easy, or silly, but its sandbox programming and milions have done it. its something completely different from going out there , build stuff, have trouble, fix it on ur own, put on github and show to the world.

doing this show the following:

  • i can use git
  • i can not just sandbox, but i can build anything. you used those algo’s in ur own projects
  • i can script / you dont say you can script (“i finished fcc algo’s”), but you show it.

For the rest, i think you have great base, python + front end skills is really hot. python demand has gone way up, so maybe try to build following:
mongo or sql
python backend
simple pug / handlebars for rendering or, if you wanna go fancy, use react or vue

build something with a login, and crud. and it should look “ok”. no need to make it look awesome.

A good HR will look at ur code first, and then click through ur website in a blinck. it doesnt really matter how it looks. you have plenty of stuff that looks good. but they will read and ponder ur algo’s on github.

i wouldnt even put all those certificates on there. i think it looks noob. but thats me.
than, from that full project, link in ur resume to the best file in the github repo.

anyway…thats how i got the job.

gl!